Trying to Stay in Contact
February 18, 2012 10:17 AM   Subscribe

I manage my contacts in Outlook on Computer 1. I manage my iPhone on Computer 2. I don't want to put Outlook on Computer 2, and I don't want to connect my iPhone to Computer 1. How can I best keep my contacts up-to-date on my iPhone?

Assume Outlook will remain on Computer 1, my iPhone will never connect to it, and I won't put iTunes on it.

I used to have a version of Outlook on Computer 2, and I would copy my contacts from Outlook on Computer 1 to Outlook on Computer 2 every so often. A little effort, but it worked great.

I took Outlook off Computer 2 in December, and won't be reinstalling it. My contacts on my iPhone haven't been updated since this change happened.

What's my best solution for managing my contacts on Computer 2 in a way that (1) I can easily export, via USB or similar, my contacts from Computer 1, and (2) that easily syncs to my iPhone via iTunes?
posted by NotMyselfRightNow to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
What's your email service? Gmail or some other web-based provider? Is it an Exchange server? IMAP only?
posted by stopgap at 10:27 AM on February 18, 2012

Outlook is connected to Exchange. iPhone doesn't pull email from Exchange, but from my GMail account. No connection between Exchange/Outlook and GMail.

To be clear, I really don't want to establish a direct connection between Exchange/Outlook and my iTunes/iPhone.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 10:31 AM on February 18, 2012

If you have an exchange server, connect the iPhone directly to it. If you simply set up an account (Settings>general>Mail,contact,calendars - set up account type "exchange" and it will sync the two accounts. You can choose the type of data you want to sync - mail, contacts, calendar, and/or tasks. But there will be no need to cable the iPhone to either computer for this purpose (continue to sync all the iTunes stuff with Computer 2), nor will computer 1 need to have iTunes.

Doing this will require that you either turn mail off in the exchange sync or turn the gmail forwarding off (or just quit using the iPhone for gmail, if that's all you use the gmail account for).

If you're using a work email account and also a gmail account that has distinct functions, there *is* a gmail app out there buried in the iTunes store. I prefer to use that because I want alerts on work e-mail but not my gmail.

DM if you're stuck; I have this arrangement working on my iPhone and exchange accounts.
posted by randomkeystrike at 1:18 PM on February 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

randomkeystrike - That's a great answer but I don't want to connect my iPhone in any way to my Outlook or Exchange server. I know all the ways to do a wired connection to Computer 1 and make it work, or a data connection to Computer 1 or my server and make it work. I'm more hopeful for a solution that is akin to "download XYZ app to Computer 2, copy/paste your contacts into that app, then have iTunes sync contacts against that app."
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 2:35 PM on February 18, 2012

If I wanted to achieve what you are after, and not do what you don't want to do, I'd probably export the outlook contacts to a CSV file, import them into a gmail account, and then tell iTunes / iPhone to sync contacts with that gmail account.

I don't actually do this myself, though I do sync some data from Outlook and some data from an unconnected Google calendar, and that all works fine for me.
posted by philipy at 7:54 AM on February 19, 2012

philipy - I haven't used GMail to manage my contacts at all in the past, but that's not a bad idea. Thanks!
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 9:43 AM on February 19, 2012

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